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Wine Workers Union Rejects Latest Employer Offer

September 25, 1986

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) _ Striking wine workers have overwhelmingly rejected the latest company offer, and union officials say a nationwide boycott is possible.

Robert Fogg, president of Local 186 of the Winery, Distillery and Allied Workers Union, said 80 percent of the 1,750 workers who voted Wednesday rejected the pact. He said 2,200 workers were on strike.

Robert Lieber, a spokesman for the 12-member Winery Employers Association, said previously that the group would not improve its last contract offer. He could not be reached for comment after the announcement of the vote.

The contract expired July 31, and the latest offer included wage reductions of 50 cents per hour, a reduction of first-tier wages and a one-time bonus of $400 to $600 depending on hours worked.

Union workers earned from $8.75 to $15.50 an hour under the old contract.

The union leadership called the proposal ″an insult″ and recommended rejection.

The Central Labor Council in Fresno has already endorsed a regional boycott, according to Harry Priest, president of Local 45. Fogg said similar activities will start in northern California later this week.

The decison to go national with a boycott rests with the union’s international leadership.

The owners said the strike has not been effective because the peak production crush was two weeks early this year and because many plants are highly automated.

The first strike was Aug. 18 at Christian Brothers plants in Reedley and Napa. E&J Gallo, the world’s largest winery, was struck Sept. 16 by about 1,000 workers in Modesto, Livingson and Fresno.

Nine other companies are affected, including Midcal Aluminum, Gallo’s bottle cap and cork plant, and Fromm & Sichel, Christian Brothers’ marketing arm. Also struck are Bronco, Franzia, Almaden, Charles Krug, Gibson, Vie-Del and Lamont.

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